A private donation has led to a vintage training aircraft being trucked from High River, Alberta 20 km south to Nanton, home of the Bomber Command Museum of Canada.
The Cessna Crane was widely used by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during the Second World War. “There were 100 of them in Calgary, there were 100 of them in Claresholm, there were 50 of them over here in Vulcan, so it was an important airplane in our local history,” said museum director Ben Schwartz.
The type, built of wood and tubular steel, was first produced by Cessna in 1939 and sold as the T-50 to the civilian market. A total of 826 Cranes were purchased by the RCAF for use in the BCATP, which supplemented the Avro Ansons being supplied by Britain. Another 4500 Cranes were produced for the U.S. Army Air Force (which named them the AT-8 or Bobcat). The Cranes began arriving in Canada in 1943 and continued serving in the RCAF until 1947, when many of them were sold off for use as civilian transport aircraft.
The museum in Nanton (pop. 1700) boasts a number of WW-2 vintage aircraft, including a Lancaster, Fleet Fawn, Tiger Moth, Lysander, Cornell, Anson, Yale, Harvard, Expeditor and a Bolingbroke which is being restored as a Blenheim IV bomber. Outside, a T-33 and CF-100 serve as Gate Guardians.